HIV Infection Rate Among Blacks Doubles

Jeff Don, AP, Feb. 25

BOSTON—The HIV infection rate has doubled among blacks in the United States over a decade while holding steady among whites—stark evidence of a widening racial gap in the epidemic, government scientists said Friday.

Other troubling statistics indicate that almost half of all infected people in the United States who should be receiving HIV drugs are not getting them.

The findings were released in Boston at the 12th Annual Retrovirus Conference, the world’s chief scientific gathering on the disease.

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” said Terje Anderson, director of the National Association of People With AIDS. “We just have a burgeoning epidemic in the African American community that is not being dealt with effectively.”

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The surveys look only at young and middle-aged adults who live in households, excluding such groups as soldiers, prisoners and homeless. Thus, health officials believe the numbers probably underestimate true HIV rates in this country.

Still, they show a striking rise in the prevalence of the AIDS virus from 1 percent to 2 percent of blacks. White rates held steady at 0.2 percent. Largely because of the increase among blacks, the overall U.S. rate rose slightly from 0.3 percent to 0.4 percent.

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